Mannequins help train CVTC healthcare students

Posted April 21, 2022

Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) students began having access to 10 healthcare simulation mannequins during spring semester.

With the change of learning from in-person to virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic, the mannequins helped with practical learning for CVTC students.

CVTC has campuses in River Falls and Eau Claire.

The college used federal COVID-19 relief funds with the most expensive mannequin costing approximately $80,000, said Theresa Meinen, coordinator of the CVTC Simulation Center and director of clinical education in the respiratory therapy program.

Meinen said in a phone interview that CVTC in Eau Claire expanded to admit 20-24 students to meet the demands of the respiratory field. CVTC in River Falls is growing and will begin a respiratory program cohort and accept up to 12 students for fall 2022. Currently, there are four mannequins at the River Falls campus and six for the Eau Claire campus.

“Expansion will depend upon the need,” said Meinen. “Regionally, many of the larger hospitals have 15-20 respiratory-related job openings at any time.”

The life-sized mannequins are a resource for students to apply their learning before going into the respiratory field after graduation. According to a CVTC press release, the new figures will allow students to practice with high technology equipment to perform many life-like scenarios to mimic a clinical setting.

“Prior to COVID, respiratory education was all done clinically. We weren’t able to fully train with ventilators on stimulators before this,” said Meinen.

The 10 new mannequins have additional benefits compared to the ones used previously.

“The new mannequins are pretty incredible,” Meinen said. “We program the scenarios we need, and the mannequin reacts.”

Additionally, the mannequins have allowed collaboration with speech therapy students at the UW-Eau Claire. Eventually, CVTC would like to collaborate with the UW-River Falls students as well.

“The more collaboration we can do, the better off our students are on both sides” said Meinen.